Cape Coast The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the Most Reverend Robert Aboagye-Mensah, urged Christians to lead the crusade against corruption in the country.
"Its our responsibility as Christians to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that corruption is minimised," he said. The Rt. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah was delivering a sermon at the Wesley Methodist Cathedral at Cape Coast, which coincided with the 170th anniversary of the Church.
He stated that if Ghanaians did not change their attitude towards work for the better it would be difficult to create wealth for the nation, adding that, the cancellation of the country's debts would be meaningless if they did not eschew laziness, malingering, lateness and manage the Ghana's resources well.
Ghanaians should strive to achieve excellence in all that they do and cautioned against making "demigods" out of their achievements. "You should remember at all times that anytime we make achievements then it is God who has been gracious to us".
The Presiding Bishop urged Christians to renew their commitment this year with God and strive to know him better. "Serve the poor and the needy and also make disciples of all nations".
Later the congregation marched through the principal streets of Cape Coast with brass band music and converged at the Castle where a short ceremony was held to commemorate the beginning of Methodism in Ghana. Tamale Many residents in the Tamale Metropolis did not sleep last night. They were engaged in worshiping in the churches, socializing at nightclub houses and drinking bars to usher in the New Year. Like many other festivals, the New Year celebrations cut across religious and cultural boundaries as the occasion is a good day for taking stock of the past year and for making resolutions for the year that had began.
It is a good opportunity for asking pardon for our omissions and the lack of love that caused them and also a good occasion for thanksgiving for all the good things God has given us.
As such, while the Christians were at church services to give thanks to God for what he had done for them in the past year, the Muslims and the traditionalists saw it as pilgrims in the passage of life made up of tribulations and also of God's consolation.
All these groups were therefore engaged in offering prayers to God for the spiritual and social and indeed the holistic growth of the individual members and those of their families and society. As usual the churches were full to capacity with worshippers but those who could not make it up to the churches, were found sitting in groups at drinking bars over bottles of beer amidst gospel music. However the same was not with the nightclub houses that were mostly patronized by the youth. Cigarette smoking was among six out of ten youth at these houses thereby defeating the significance of the day. At the OLA Cathedral Parish, the Catholic Archbishop of Tamale Diocese, Most Reverend Gregory Kpiebaya in a word to the worshippers, noted that the vitality of the church made him happy for 2005 and urged members of the catholic faith to see themselves as a family of God devoid of ethnic feelings and considerations.
"Let us shun ethnic feelings and considerations and work towards bringing everybody on board to "match to God".
Bishop Kpiebaya observed that church societies and associations in his diocese had not been apostolate enough and as such were unable to spread the catholic faith to many communities in the area. Also at the Bethel Methodist Church, the Superintendent Minister, the Very Reverend George Annor Darko, urged Christians not to compare their trial times with what they had been able to achieve but continue to keep faith with God.
He likened it to David, who, he said, went through hectic times but with faith in God he was able to achieve success in life. At exactly 0001 hours firecrackers were detonated into the air by the worshippers and the youth while the traditionalists beat the talking drums to usher in the New Year.
Indeed, it was all merry-making in Metropolis as taxi drivers tooted their horns and wave handkerchiefs to express their joy and thanks to God for guiding them though the past year. Wa The Reverend Father Peter Dakurah, at the Wa St. Andrews Catholic Cathedral on Sunday urged Christians to bury their differences in 2005 and forge ahead for unity of purpose, peace and development in their various areas in 2006.
"We however cannot achieve them if we do not commit ourselves to forgiving our brothers and sisters who have in one way or the other wronged us during the year in review".
Fr. Dakurah who was giving a new year sermon also cautioned that it was not enough to publicly announce forgiveness, but harbour vengeance in the heart adding, "until we completely forgive those who trespass against us we shall not be forgiven by God".
The full to capacity Cathedral was an indication of how Christians all over the region trooped to various churches to give thanks for celebrating another year.
When the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the St. Paul's Methodist Church, Church of Pentecost, Revival Assemblies of God and Fountain Gate Chapel, the story was not different as most of them had to put up canopies outside to supplement their capacity as a result of the good attendance.
On the 31st December, nightclubs and drinking spots were also filled to capacity as both Christians and Muslims enjoyed themselves as a way of welcoming the New Year.
Mr. Iddrisu Tijani a Muslim who GNA talked to in a nightclub said, "Christmas is for Christians, but New Year is for all of us, as we all use the same calendar".
The Wa police did not record any nasty incident when the GNA visited the station on Sunday morning. Tema Tema, Jan. 01, GNA - The Senior Pastor of the Action Chapel at Tema, Reverend Samuel Boadi-Dankwa last night called on Ghanaians to lead credible lives that would put value on the nation and her citizens to win respect from the outside world.
Preaching the sermon at Tema to usher in the New Year, he noted that our perception and attitude towards our lives and work would convince the foreigner to develop love for the nation and contribute in various ways to its growth.
He entreated Ghanaians to eschew negative tendencies such as laziness and apathy and remain faithful and loyal to their dear nation by contributing positively towards its socio-economic growth. As nothing can be achieved without God's intervention, the Senior Pastor admonished Ghanaians to always seek the Lord's guidance and direction in their endeavours to ensure success.
He admonished the leadership of the nation to portray quality leadership skills worthy of emulation and work diligently to win the hearts of the people to justify their continued stay in power. "If you are a politician and you serve your nation well, when the time comes for election the people will vote for you".
Rev. Boadi-Dankwa called on churches and the state to do their best to promote unity among Ghanaians devoid of ethnicity so that with concerted efforts we live a good legacy for the next generation. To ensure rapid progress of the country, he stressed the need for Ghanaians to respect their civic responsibility and by honouring their tax obligations to the state, which is channelled into development. He condemned the destruction of state property in seeking redress for grievances saying that if almost 50 years after independence we still adopted crude ways of doing things then the nation would not progress.
Rev. Boadi-Dankwa called for harsher punishment for those whose attitudes infringed on the rights of others to serve as deterrent and referred to drivers who ignored the traffic regulations and drove recklessly to cause accidents killing passengers and those who litter the environment indiscriminately. Kumasi Kumasi, Jan. 1, GNA - Ghanaians have been challenged to resolve to seek peace at all cost since that was the only way by which the development of the country could be enhanced. The Most Reverend Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi said since peace was an internal quality and could only be achieved through truth, there was the need for transformation of the thinking of all irrespective of sex, tribe, religion, race or occupation. He has therefore called on all to make peace their top most priority to help move the country forward. Archbishop Sarpong was delivering the sermon at the New Year service held at the Saint Peter's Minor Basilica in Kumasi.
He said since the word of God stood for peace, all should make it their priority to let the word of God guide them in their daily lives. At the Saint Paul's Catholic Church at Amakom, the Very Rev Philip Opoku Nyame, the parish priest, lauded the security agencies for ensuring that the yuletide recorded no accidents and crime and urged them to keep it up.
He urged Ghanaians to use the New Year to assess their past mistakes and weaknesses and find achievable goals and objectives for their spiritual and social development.
Very Rev Nyame appealed to the media to be circumspect in their reportage on issues and seek clarifications before bringing sensitive issues into the public domain in order not to create tension in the society. Ghanaians must work to achieve vision in 2006 Tema, Jan. 1, GNA - Ghanaians were on New Year's Day urged to aim at working hard to achieve their vision of becoming a middle income nation soon. Reverend Derek Joe Eghan, Head Pastor of The Tower Praise Cathedral in Tema made the call in a New Year message to Ghanaians.
He said it was not enough for Ghana to have a vision of becoming a middle-income country by the year 2020, but that Ghanaians must plan and work towards achieving the vision starting from January 1, 2006, "It is one thing having a vision and another thing laying down principles to achieve it", he said.
Rev Eghan noted that, for the nation to achieve this vision, Ghanaians must first of all recognize God as their source of life, stressing that, the founding fathers of America recognized God and built their Constitution on the word of God making them a successful nation that every nation wanted to emulate.
He encouraged Ghanaians to develop skills in the year 2006 as a step towards achieving their vision, saying that, "this can be done through emulating great men, attending seminars, taking formal and informal education serious".
Rev Eghan said it was about time Ghanaians refrained from emulating what others had done and rather become creative, innovative, and improving upon the past year's work.
He told the GNA that, God made Ghanaians unique in a country full of peace, gold, minerals, and timber among others therefore they must discover their potentials in order to get the nation to its destination. Rev Eghan asked Ghanaians to focus without any diversion from what they were doing and be determined, strong and persevere to achieve what they had set for themselves.
He said for Ghana to move forward economically, socially and morally, religious leaders must be focused by preaching the word of God, while policy makers must come out with policies in the public interest. "Ministers of states must be focused in their decision making, government must be focused by abiding to its promises and concentrating on laudable developmental projects that would take Ghanaians from nothingness to heroes" he said. Tamale Tamale, Jan. 1, GNA - Ghanaians have been urged not to allow the hardships and failures of the past to discourage them but should rather let those experiences urge them to have confidence in the future. They should work harder this New Year to ensure peace, unity and prosperity of the nation.
The Reverend Jacob Ayeebo, Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Tamale, who made the call, was delivering his New Year message at a church service to mark the New Year in Tamale on Sunday. Rev. Ayeebo, who took his sermon from Jeremiah 29: 10-14 likened Ghanaians to the people of Israel who were in captivity in Babylon, but despite their situation God assured them that he had a plan for them and said: "Likewise, God has a plan for Ghana". He urged Ghanaians to strive to improve upon the economic circumstances not only of their individual lives but also of the nation as a whole by making contributions that would impact positively on the lives of the people in their communities.
On the peace of the country and that of Dagbon in particular, he said: "God has a plan to reconcile the nation, the people of Dagbon and all the ethnic groups in the Northern Region".
"God uses individuals to achieve his plans and I urged all stakeholders who have the peace of the Region at heart to strive harder to bring together people who matter to achieve lasting peace in the area this New Year". He urged the religious leaders of the different denominations to intensify their prayers for the peace of the area and prayed to God to make the New Year one of evangelisation for the spread of the gospel of Christ. In a sermon at the Presbyterian Church at the Air Borne Force (ABF) to usher in the New Year the Rev. Squadron Leader Geshon Temadonku, Chaplain, urged Christians to exhibit sincerity, hard work and a high level of tolerance in the discharge of their duties. He urged soldiers in particular, to live lives worthy of emulation saying: "This is the only way God will bless you and society as a whole".
Rev. Temadonku said "God has placed leaders in their positions to serve as examples to others" and I urge such leaders to use their positions to impact positively on society instead of lording it over others".
Pastor Patrick Yeboah, Head of the Church of Pentecost at the ABF, said the year 2006 was one of reconciliation among nations, communities and individuals and urged Christians to remain committed to the service of God.